Clinical Trial

Prevent Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use

Study Description

Examining Expectancy Challenges to Prevent Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use

Nonmedical prescription stimulant use (NPS) is commonly reported among college students for cognitive enhancement purposes, though it is associated with numerous negative psychological and physical consequences. Despite increasingly high prevalence rates and widespread acknowledgement of the need for efficacious interventions, little is known regarding how to prevent or treat this behavior. An intervention that targets cognitive enhancement motives and expectancy effects related to NPS may be particularly effective in light of recent research purporting limited evidence for meaningful NPS-related cognitive improvements among individuals without legitimate attention deficits. The primary objective of this proposal is to examine the efficacy of an intervention that successfully prevents NPS among college students by modifying expectations for NPS-related effects, while at the same time providing alternative means of enhancing cognition and arousal. Participants will be 126 stimulant-naA?ve college students who report a combination of risk factors for NPS. They will be randomized to one of three treatment conditions: a placebo-based expectancy challenge intervention that solely aims to modify expectancies related to NPS, a caffeine-based expectancy challenge intervention that includes expectancy modification combined with a safer alternative for cognitive enhancement, or a control group. Multilevel mixed modeling and survival analyses will be used to 1) examine changes in NPS-related expectancy effects across a 6-month follow-up period, and 2) assess incidence of NPS over the follow-up period, respectively, across the three groups. It is hypothesized that both expectancy challenge interventions will successfully modify expectancies compared to the control group and that they will be maintained over the follow-up period. It is also expected that the caffeine-based intervention will most successfully prevent NPS through a combination of expectancy modification and encouraging safe use of caffeine rather than prescription stimulants to achieve desired outcomes. Mediational analyses will also be employed to assess whether changes in expectancy effects via the interventions are responsible for differences in initiation rates between groups. The results of this project will facilitate the development of larger-scale prevention efforts to target the high rate of NPS on college campuses.


Locations Selected Location


No pharmaceutical medication involved No pharmaceutical medication involved
Patients and healthy individuals accepted Patients and healthy individuals accepted

Behavioral - Caffeine-Based Expectancy Challenge

Intervention to alter expectancies and encourage safe drug substitution (harm reduction plus expectancy modification)

Behavioral - Placebo-Based Expectancy Challenge

Intervention to alter expectancies (expectancy modification only)

Additional Information

Official Study Title

Examining Expectancy Challenges to Prevent Nonmedical Prescription Stimulant Use

Clinical Trial ID


ParticipAid ID